Milestones – or a Few Accomplishments over the Last Seven Years!!

Milestones!

Milestone the first:

Today’s post marks a number of milestones! What milestones, you might ask? The first significant milestone is that August 12 marks seven years since The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian publication date! Since that day,  The Carnelian picked up an Indie BRAG Medallion and a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal. I’ve published the other three books of the series, attended many festivals and books signings, spoke at schools, and learned more than I ever thought possible about writing. I’ve met amazing authors, reviewers, and book promoters. I keep writing (can you believe three WIPs?) and hope to publish my fifth book (the start of a new series) in 2020.

The Carnelian Cover Milestones

Though I haven’t hit the bestsellers list yet, I am eternally grateful to each and every person who took the time to read one or all of the books. My favorite author moment came from a teacher (and former classmate). She told me she struggled to get a student to read. When she told the student she knew an author (me), and maybe he would read my books. I sent her a set. She reported back to me that he loved them and has become a voracious reader! That makes it all worthwhile!

Milestone the second:

I also celebrate reaching the 15,000 Twitter follower milestone! Writing The Gemstone Chronicles made me aware of the various avenues of social media and, after trying most of them, settled on Twitter as my main social media platform. I know it isn’t a huge following, but I continue to grow it and I hope I’m providing some assistance to other authors out there.

Milestone the third:

The final milestone I’m marking is that this post is my three hundredth blog post! That’s right! This blog started on August 12th, 2012 to announce The Carnelian’s publication. What a long but interesting journey it has been! I’ve written posts about my books, book promotion sites, gemstones, duct tape, conspiracy theories, and many book reviews! I’ve even slipped a few posts about submarines and my time in the Navy. I like to post my book reviews and maybe give a fellow author a bit of exposure. I hope my posts reflect my rather eclectic interests both in the different genres I review and the occasional foray into my hobbies and interests.

As always, I’m humbled and grateful for everyone’s continued support and for the readers who’ve taken time to read my books and read and comment on my blog posts. Though I can’t thank all of you personally, please know how much I appreciate you and will try to continue to provide enjoyable content!

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The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) by Michael P. King – My Review!!

The Traveling Man – My Review!!

The Traveling Man Cover

Every now and then, I like to read a crime thriller. I ran across The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) by Michael P. King and put it on the TBR list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

In a life-and-death contest among criminals, even the most cunning may not survive…

The Traveling Man and his wife have built a life for themselves conning criminals and getting away scot-free. But when their latest scheme to sell contaminated land goes south, they find themselves in a cat-and-mouse game with the crime boss who’s turned the tables on them and the partners who’ve betrayed them.

Are you ready to take a walk on the wild side?

What I liked:

The Traveling Man was a fun read! Lots of action, plot twists, great cons, and betrayals kept me guessing what was coming next. Add to the mix the innocents caught up in the game, the oddly ethical bent of the Traveling Man, and it’s a winning combination.

What I didn’t like:

Despite the good parts mentioned above, the book did bog down a few times as The Traveling Man and his plans fell apart. I had issues with some of the dialogue as well.

Overall impression:

The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) was an enjoyable read. The cons were flawed enough to be believable, the characters’ amoral enough to pull off their scams, yet Rob (the title character) had an ethical side. If you’re a fan of crime novels, read this one. Please note there is sex, violence, and strong language.

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Michael P. King

Find Michael P. King on his Amazon Author Page and his Goodreads Author Page. While you’re there, check out the rest of his books (and maybe buy a couple) and leave him a comment or a review!

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I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Find me, say hi, and let’s connect! Don’t miss a post, either! Subscribe to the blog! If you liked the review (or if you didn’t), leave me a comment!

Bump Time Origin by Doug J. Cooper – My Review!!

Bump Time Origin – My review!!

Bump Time Origin Cover

I read all of Doug J. Cooper’s Crystal Series and enjoyed them immensely. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I added his new book Bump Time Origin to my TBR list when he released it. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

On his twenty-fifth birthday, Diesel Lagerford is visited by a twenty-six-year-old version of himself. His look-alike spins impossible tales of their shared future, claiming they have dozens of “brothers” from parallel timelines who can visit each other using a T-box, a machine they bankroll with lottery winnings. He introduces Diesel to the incredible Lilah Spencer, the T-box operator, and Diesel falls head-over-heels in love. But during his travels across timelines, Diesel learns that Lilah will soon die under suspicious circumstances. Devastated, he joins his brothers in a race to save her. Can they solve the mystery of her death before it’s too late? And will their unusual solution play out over time in the ways they had anticipated?

What I liked:

As with the Crystal Series, Bump Time Origin was a well-written and entertaining read. I enjoyed the different take on time travel and the conscious effort to alter the time continuum. Diesel and Lilah were good characters, and the relationships between the brothers added a lot to the story. Ciopova (the AI) made the perfect amoral character. I won’t go into that (no spoilers), but if you like sci-fi and time travel books, read this one!

What I didn’t like:

I appreciated Doug J. Cooper’s efforts to keep the Diesels straight, but it will still a little difficult to follow at times. Other than that, not much to complain about with Bump Time Origin!

Overall impression:

Bump Time Origin was a well-written piece if sci-fi! With an interesting take on time travel, romance, and great AI, read this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with Doug J. Cooper:

Discover Doug J. Cooper and all of his books on his Amazon Author Page or his website. Visit, check out his work, and maybe buy a few for yourself!

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The Set Stealer by Jonathon McElhaney – My Review!!

The Set Stealer – My Review!!!

The Set Stealer Cover

It’s time to head back to the fantasy realm. This time it’s The Set Stealer by Jonathon McElhaney, a book from a fellow Georgia author and one that showed up in my Amazon recommendations. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

A Set is a gift. A power that one can bring from within themselves and manifest to change the physical world. Everyone has at least one, ranging from the mundane to the all powerful. That is, everyone except Kayla. But when her father is murdered in front of her, Kayla is sent on a collision course with destiny as she is forced on an adventure to discover not only who killed her father but who she is. Searching within herself, Kayla must find her own power – even without a Set to protect her – and save not only herself but the world she loves.

What I liked:

Overall, The Set Stealer was a good story. I liked Kayla’s character and her quest for knowledge. The pace of the story was good, and there was plenty of action with plenty of blood and violence to go along with it. The training sequences interested me, and the final battle added an interesting twist. If you enjoy dark fantasy, add this one to your TBR list.

What I didn’t like:

At times, especially in the battle scenes, the book seemed more like a superhero battle than a fantasy novel. I would have liked to have more information on exactly what a set is and why the sets manifest themselves so differently in each person. Lastly, The Set Stealer could have used another pass by the editor.

Overall impression:

I liked the book! Good characters, lots of action, intrigue, and Kayla’s quest made for an enjoyable read. On the downside, my biggest issue was the book could have used additional editing. However, if you like action filled fantasy, read this one.

My rating:

3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 stars)

Connect with Jonathon McElhaney:

Find Jonathon McElhaney on his Amazon Author Page or his website. Visit, look around, and maybe pick up a book for yourself! While you’re there, please consider leaving a comment or a review.

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Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) – My Review!

Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) – My Review!!

Blood Relic Cover

I read the first two books of the Paranormal Peacekeepers series by Lucretia Stanhope and thoroughly enjoyed them. I added Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) to my TBR list a while back and finally got a chance to read it. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

When a string of dead witches points to the illegal practice of making relics that eternally drip with magic blood, Alice is called to go deep into the vampire underground. The mission plants her as the lead on a military targeting squad, serving a branch of the PPK she despises. To reject the task means the blood of witches on her hands. To succeed means her and Amarok will never be simple ambassadors again – if they ever were.

With her and Amarok one step closer to serving the military division of the PPK, she finds comfort in her new, albeit temporary, partnership with the vampire Matthias. While balancing their own evolving relationship, Matthias prepares her for what she will see in the blood dens.

Once she steps into the seedy world where ruthless vampires pay to play with magic blood it is quickly clear that everyone underestimated the vampires’ cravings. Can the power she keeps hidden from her keepers save her life without changing it into a life of service not worth living?

What I liked:

After reading the first two books, Alice is like an old friend that you are eager to catch up with and find out what she’s been doing. Amarok and Matthias make great foes and love interests for her, and Alice’s growth into a complex woman continues. Lots of action and intrigue with this one and many twists and turns kept me interested throughout. If you like dark fantasy, Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers#3) is your kind of book!

What I didn’t like:

Despite the action, there were a few slow parts in the book. In addition, Alice’s quandary over who she loves got a bit repetitive.

Overall impression:

I enjoyed Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3), though not as much as the previous books. This one is quite a bit darker, with more violence and blood, and delves deeper into sexual situations that the other books. Overall, an entertaining read for dark fantasy fans!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Connect with Lucretia Stanhope:

Find Lucretia Stanhope on her Amazon Author Page or on her Facebook page. Discover more about the Paranormal Peacekeepers and her other books (and maybe buy a few). While you’re there, consider leaving a review or a comments!

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Myths of the Mirror by D. Wallace Peach – My Review!!

Myths of the Mirror – My Review!!

Who doesn’t like dragons? For me, a fantasy novel with dragons will always have a place on my TBR list! When I received the recommendation for Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1) I added it to my list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

In the distant mountains of the Mirror, exiled skyriders fly dragons in the old Way, merged in flesh, blood, and bone. Twenty years past, they fought for the freedom of the valley’s dragons … and lost.

Imprisoned in the stone lair, the captive dragons beat their webbed wings and thrash serpentine tails. They tear their flesh and batter their bodies against the black bars of their cells, iron grating against iron. The once peaceful creatures howl, tormented by spine and spur, their fury matched only by their despair.

Treasa, the daughter of exiles, seeks the secrets of a hidden past and a father she never knew. Gifted with visions, she glimpses pieces of years long lost and a veiled future that only raises more questions. The dragons visit her dreams, laden with contradictions that tear at her heart—for one day she sails in unfettered flight, her arms thrown wide, and the next she writhes in tortured darkness, desperate to be free.

The lair’s black-garbed riders sense the dragons’ growing savagery. Yet Conall longs to grasp their power, to subdue them and soar. He will endure the reek, filth, and terror of the lair to earn his right to fly. With a heart encased in steel, he masters the weapons of compliance to see his will done. At the cost of the woman he loves.

Then, a curved talon rends flesh and dragon scale, rattling against white ribs. Blood falls like rain and the world shifts. Treasa and Conall must decide who they are and what they stand for. Thus the battle for the dragon soul begins again. Alliances form, old myths are revealed, and new myths are born.

What I liked:

First, I enjoyed this book! The imprisoned dragons fueled much of the story and intertwined everyone’s lives and actions into a great story. The characters were good, the writing flowed smoothly, and the story had a nice pace. Romantic elements abounded throughout the book, which only added to the depth of the tale. All told, Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quarter #1) was an excellent book!

What I didn’t like:

The only thing I didn’t like in the book was the ongoing lack of communication between Treasa and her mother. I can’t really say much about it without adding spoilers, so you’ll just have to read the book and make your own decision.

Overall impression:

Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1) by D. Wallace Peach had all the elements for a great fantasy novel. Good characters, a downtrodden dragon population, romance, intrigue, and a good plot line made it a book I truly enjoyed. If you like fantasy, try this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with D. Wallace Peach:

Find D. Wallace Peach on her Amazon Author Page or her website. Check out the entire Dragon Soul Quartet and discover more about the author and her books!

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The Black Fox: Run for Your Life by Gordon Bickerstaff – My Review!!

The Black Fox: Run for Your Life – My Review!!

The Black Fox Cover

A while back, I read the first of Gordon Bickerstaff’s Lambeth Group Thrillers, and gave Deadly Secrets 4 Stars. When The Black Fox: Run for Your Life appeared in my recommendations, I added it to my TBR. Here is my review.

Synopsis (from the author):

Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.

She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA want destroyed.

As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA send Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel. With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.

Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts. If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.

Run for your life…

What I liked:

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I like thrillers. The Black Fox: Run for Your Life has all the elements for a great thriller. Lots of action, plenty of plot twists, and a large-scale conspiracy blend to make this an excellent read! Zoe is a great character, a believable operative, and her talents are fully on display in the book. Gavin plays a central role as the pair struggle to stay alive and solve the mystery of why the CIA wants him dead. No spoilers from me, so you’ll just have to read this one to find the answers!

What I didn’t like:

I had a couple of complaints about the book. First, Gavin was such a weak persona in this book compared to the first book of the series. Secondly (and admittedly this is personal bias as a former submariner), the submarine parts seemed a bit farfetched.

Overall impression:

The Black Fox: Run for Your Life entertained me from start to finish. With tons of action, good characters, lots of plot twists, and an interesting finish, I enjoyed it. If you like thrillers, try this one! 

My rating:

4.5 Stars (round to 5 Stars)

Connect with Gordon Bickerstaff:

Discover Gordon Bickerstaff and his book on his website and his Amazon Author Page. While you’re visiting, consider leaving a comment or a review. I know Gordon Bickerstaff will appreciate it!

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Standing on a Whale by B. J. Tiernan – My Review!!

Standing on a Whale – My review!!

Standing on a Whale Cover

I’m not sure how I found Standing on a Whale by B. J.Tiernan, but after reading the blurb, it intrigued me enough to add it to my TBR list. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Recluse Lance Stavros is a successful doctor who runs his own practice, but on the inside, he’s basically high-functioning human wreckage. He was born into a loveless home that lacked the nurturing to help him develop an ability to cope with life’s challenges. Now Lance is forty-seven, and the only reason he’s survived the past four decades without taking his own life is cowardice.

As hopelessness overcomes him, and he’s finally finding the guts within to pull the trigger on his existence, a house call pulls him out of the deadly spiral. It will turn out to be the call of his lifetime.

Lance becomes a live-in medic for a controversial mystic and lecturer who irks the Greek government—and becomes an assassin’s target. Amid this new and curious world, and a reignited past romance, Lance battles his cowardice to investigate who is trying to kill his employer, and he’s about to uncover more than he bargained for.

What I liked:

Standing on a Whale was an interesting read. It was a curiously entertaining cross of philosophy, religion, and political commentary set against the backdrop of Lance Stavros’ personal crisis. Hadden, as the mystical philosopher, added a nice character. They mystery of who Hadden’s would be killer was, and the twists and turns surrounding it kept me guessing. Lastly, Lance’s budding romance with Kavita (and its many twists and turns) completed this enjoyable story.

What I didn’t like:

My only criticism of Standing on a Whale was that some of Hadden’s lectures had a preachy feel to them. Other than that, good stuff!

Overall impression:

I enjoyed Standing on a Whale by B. J. Tiernan. From Lance Stavros’ crisis through his transformation, the novel leads us down a twisty path to redemption. What more can you ask of a book?

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with B. J. Tiernan:

Find B. J. Tiernan on her Amazon Author Page. While you’re there, leave her a comment or a review and maybe pick up a book or two!

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The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz #1) – My Review!!

The One Discovered – My review!!

The One Discovered Cover

I love the way fantasy can move in so many different directions. It can be classic epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and even have a bit of the paranormal in it. Such is the case with The One Discovered (Chronicles of Diasodz #1) by Yvette M Calleiro. Here is my review.

Synopsis (from the author):

How do you choose when both options have dire consequences?

Sofia is a 17 year old who is quite content with her life. She has a caring boyfriend who also just happens to be her best friend since birth. She has a loving mother. She is successfully completing her last year of high school and enjoys her part-time job. She can’t imagine wanting more from her life…until Ar’ch (pronounced Ar-rick) enters her dreams, sparking a burning flame inside of her that she can’t seem to extinguish nor does she want to.

Ar’ch is a Diasodz (Die-ah-sodz), a species created by the Goddess back when God created humans. Diasodz were made to heal and protect humans, but when the Diasodz turned their backs on helping humans and left Earth to live in their own world, the Goddess abandoned them. Since then, their powers and their very lives have been fading. A prophecy foretold that a young girl born on Earth would be the Diasodz’s savior. Ar’ch and his brother, Angel, travel to Earth to retrieve her and bring her back to their world before her death day in order to save their kind. Ar’ch knows the drill: find the target, capture her, and safely bring her home. But what happens when the target captures his dormant heart?

Choices create action. Actions have consequences. When faced with the truth, what choice will Sofia make? Will she be able to accept the consequences that follow?

What I liked:

The One Discovered was a nice read. Written for young adults, I nonetheless enjoyed it. First, the book has solid characters. Sofia and Rafe make a good couple, and Ar’ch’s intrusion into her dreams and her life make for interesting conflict. The story hints of other powers at work, though Rafe and Sofia are ignorant for the most part.  Follow their adventures and see if Sofia comes into her powers!

What I didn’t like:

Despite the fact that Sofia and Rafe are a couple, their lack of physical attraction seemed out of place. In addition, Sofia’s repeated swoons over Ar’ch got a bit repetitive. A better explanation of what Ar’ch and Angel are would help, too.

Overall impression:

The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz #1) was a good read. Filled with a nice blend of fantasy and paranormal and good solid characters, it’s a book I recommend to anyone who likes the genre!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Yvette M. Calleiro:

Find Yvette on her website or her Amazon Author Page. While you’re there leave a comment or a review and check out the rest of her books (and maybe buy a few)!

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Hexborn (Hexborn Chronicles Book 1) by A. M. Manay – My Review!!

Hexborn – My Review!!

Hexborn

I’m happy to start 2019 with a review of Hexborn (Hexborn Chronicles Book 1) by A. M. Manay. This one came through my Amazon recommendations. Read on for my thoughts on this interesting fantasy novel!

Synopsis (from the author):

Hexborn. Abomination. Unclean. Young Shiloh knows exactly what she is. She just refuses to let that stop her. Her illness might make her an outcast, but her broken body hides great magical power. And she intends to make the most of it.

Silas, the king’s ruthless fixer, seeks to use that power to preserve the uneasy peace the kingdom has enjoyed since the end of the Siblings’ War. Silas hauls Shiloh from her mountain village to the wizard academy at the king’s court, where magic and political intrigue conspire to create danger around every corner.

Can this child of war save the peace? Or will old sins rise to threaten Shiloh, Silas, and the kingdom of Bryn?

What I liked:

Hexborn was an interesting twist on fantasy. Shiloh and Silas are strong characters, while the King is weak. The story follows court intrigue, arranged marriages, and religious persecution, all as a backdrop to Shiloh’s growing power and Silas’s concerns over her power and the threat of her heritage. Add to it the King’s marriage to Shiloh’s friend Penn and we have a lot going on.  All told, it’s an excellent read!

What I didn’t like:

My only real complaint about Hexborn (Hexborn Chronicles Book 1) was how long it took to explain fully what hexborn meant. Other than that, good stuff!

Overall impression:

I enjoyed the book! Great characters, plenty of action, intrigue, and hints of romance kept me turning pages. Shiloh’s powers are interesting and there are plenty of twists and turns. If you like fantasy, try Hexborn!

My Rating:

5 Stars

Connect with A. M. Manay:

Visit A. M. Manay at her website or her Amazon Author Page. While you’re there, leave a comment or a review and maybe buy a book or two! I know she will appreciate it!

Connect with me:

I’m on the socials, so find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+. Let’s connect! And don’t miss a post. Subscribe to the blog!